Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Farewell to 2013

2013 has been very good to me in many ways. Cariboo Handwoven grew in sales, website hits, blog pageviews, and general interest in my community. My plan for 2014 has many exciting challenges, such as my show with potter Joan Beck at the Station House Gallery next November, continued blogging of my projects and thoughts, restocking of my studio and three local outlets with blankets and towels, and more.

Thank you very, very much to my sister, Alison, in Ottawa who has been instrumental in the growth and success of Cariboo Handwoven.

Thank you to Pat for all the systems assistance and advice I've needed over the year, and for his wise perspectives on many things.

Thank you to all the inspiration and guidance from artists like weaver Laura Fry, marketing coach Alyson Stanfield and self-described writer-who-draws Austin Kleon.

And a huge THANK YOU to my customers whose support has been wonderful and which I have so appreciated. All your written feedback is posted on my bulletin board or kept on file electronically. :)

Here are some of my favourite wool blankets from 2013:

SH003 | Sold in Ottawa in April

SH019 | Available

SH020 | Available in Ottawa

SH036 | Last available blanket in the Autumn Storm series

SH047 | Available

A209 | Sold in Ottawa in November

Best wishes to everyone for a happy, healthy 2014!

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Zingy Cotton Blankets

After weaving, fringing and selling many wool blankets lately, I needed a contrast. My big cotton blankets in bold twills have been fun to make as well as really popular, and another one just sold today in Ottawa. I decided last week to warp on wide stripes of interesting colours that Pat describes as "zingy." Here is the warp being threaded:

The blankets are the full loom width of 60" (152 cm) and the cotton is threaded again at 24 ends/inch. Total number of warp ends: 1,440. During the threading stage I play little mind games to get myself through the 5 or 6 hours it takes, and then there's still the next two steps of sleying the reed and tying on the warp.

Here's the first blanket underway:

I'm keen to continue weaving through the upcoming holidays!

Merry Christmas.

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Gift Certificate

I was recently asked for a gift certificate to be given as a Christmas present for personal selection of a Cariboo Handwoven Shetland wool blanket. The future blanket owner had admired my blankets at a recent event, which the gift certificate-buying spouse had noticed, and that prompted the gift certificate idea. This is my first gift certificate and I had fun designing it. I'll have more fun after Christmas when the recipient goes through the selection process and makes a choice.

Friday, 13 December 2013

Just Sent To Ottawa ...

This morning I sent seven more blankets to my sister in Ottawa. Here are five of them:

SH048 | 100% wool | $230

SH049 | 100% wool | $230 | On hold

A211 | Approx. 50% Shetland wool and 50% alpaca | $300

A214 | Approx. 50% Shetland wool and 50% alpaca | $300

A216 | Approx. 50% Shetland wool and 50% alpaca | $300

If you're in the Ottawa area and interested in any of these blankets, please email me for contact information: cariboojane "at" shaw "dot" ca.

More blankets are also available at the Station House Gallery and in my studio.

Monday, 9 December 2013

Shetland Wool Blankets - 9th Batch on Loom

This is a good time of the year to weave soft, lightweight wool blankets, as they are in pretty high demand lately. I'm keeping track of my Shetland wool blanket projects and this is my ninth set.

Here are the first five blankets on the loom. I'm planning to fringe the fifth one (SH049) ASAP for shipping out, but if you see another blanket you'd like fringed and ready next week, just let me know.






Monday, 2 December 2013

Totally Tremendous Turned Twill Towels

OK, they're just towels, but they're nice ones - plus, I couldn't resist taking the alliteration a bit further. The towels were woven both in smooth diagonal lines and the mottled look with the broken twill for the blocks. Both effects work well and look great, or to some - totally tremendous.

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Another Vintage Baby Blanket

Funny, but another dear university friend popped out of the proverbial woodwork with a photo of my very early work. Today's surprise email was incredible for me! Here is a 29-year-old baby blanket for a special Alana:

The weave structure for this cotton blanket is Leno, or something I haven't used in ages and since forgotten. It sure warms my heart to see this photo and think back to whatever I was doing (and whoever I was) almost three decades ago.

Thanks, AR, for this great photo. :-)

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Jen's Blanket

My friend, Jen, who I know from way back in our university days, now lives in Australia. I can't remember when I gave her this blanket, but I know my sister has one similar to it with the coloured warp. I also know that the warp has to be in the Swedish wool I was able to get long ago, which is great stuff and currently keeping my lap warm with another blanket as I type this.

Here is Jen's blanket:

Jen added with the photo: "The blanket is in our guest room. In a country with no central heating where the ambient room temperature can be 30 degrees or 13 degrees it is very useful!"

It means a lot to me to know that not only does my work last so long, but it's enjoyed throughout its long life. This is another example of that, and I appreciate the photo and comments.

Anyone else with vintage weaving from my pre-Cariboo Handwoven days is welcome to send me a photo with a comment or two that I will gladly share.  More current weaving in its new setting is just as welcome, too.

Monday, 18 November 2013

Turned Twill Towels

Turned twill is the correct term for what I often call "twill blocks." The blocks can be in diagonal lines, or in broken twill which gives each block a mottled look. Both types of treadling look great and combining them is another interesting effect. All block edges meet each other with a maximum float of three threads, and when threaded and woven correctly, make perfectly tight lines. The junction of four blocks is in the middle of this sample:

I warped 20 m of cotton last week and am enjoying the opportunity to try different effects for a range of towels.

These samples from the loom show the grouping of three warp ends in the reed, and the "rawness" of the cloth before washing. These towels last for so long from what more and more people are telling me, and I know that these turned twill towels will work well and look great when they find homes.

Friday, 15 November 2013

8th Batch of Shetland Wool Blankets

My eighth set of Shetland wool blankets was woven in twill blocks, correctly called turned twill. Some of the blankets have blocks with straight diagonal lines, others have a mottled look for the blocks, and the rest have an interesting combination of the two effects. Here are the first three blankets in this batch of seven distinct blankets:

SH038 | 100% wool | $230

SH039 | 100% wool | $230

SH040 | 100% wool | $230

Friday, 8 November 2013

This Blanket Tells a Story

The sixth blanket in the "Autumn Storm" series tells a story in more detail than simply the impending storm that I described in previous blogs. Instead of the general approach that reflects the colourful leaves, dark clouds and green conifers, I decided to tell more of a story in this blanket.

The blanket begins with an array of oranges and gold, then moves into light grey and dark grey to illustrate the storm clouds moving in. After the storm, the main colours at the other end of the blanket are those left of the conifers which are shown in two rich shades of dark green. A few pops of the bright leaves are still illustrated with narrow stripes of oranges.

SH036 | 100% wool | Sold

This blanket was a special project to create in my mind and then to weave. I know I'll continue to use nature as my muse for future blankets and other handwoven items.

Monday, 4 November 2013

"Autumn Storm" Blankets - Four Going to Ottawa

Four of the new wool blankets from the Autumn Storm series are finished and being shipped to Ottawa tomorrow for the November 16 open house. I introduced the Autumn Storm series in my last blog and am really pleased with how these blankets turned out. Here are the first four:

SH031 | 100% Shetland wool | Sold

SH032 | Approx. 50% Shetland wool and 50% handspun wool | Sold

SH033 | 100% Shetland wool

SH037 | 100% Shetland wool | Extra long (214 cm) | Sold

The other three Autumn Storm blankets are in the fringing stage and will be finished by early next week.

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

"Autumn Storm" Blankets

Earlier this fall I was inspired by an impending storm in the distance. The darkening clouds against the bright golden aspens, red and orange willows and shrubs, and dark green Douglas-firs and lodgepole pines presented a remarkable blend of energies. The imminent cold rain from the dark clouds against the bright fall colours and dark conifers led me to thinking about this contrast. This increased at the thought of finding refuge as well as the warmth generated by my body when I picked up the speed to get home in time.

The Autumn Storm series of Shetland wool blankets uses these colours to create a similar energy and warmth: the dark and lighter greys of the clouds, bright oranges and gold of the aspens, birches and shrubs, and the warm green of the conifers.

Part of the sequence of the Autumn Storm warp

The blankets will be quite different in appearance when finished.

SH031 | 100% wool

SH031 | 100% wool

SH032 | 100% wool with approximately 50% handspun

SH033 | 100% wool

SH034 | 100% wool

I'm looking forward to weaving the rest of the warp, and then fringing and washing the blankets.

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Big Cotton Blankets

These cotton blankets were woven in complex twill patterns in soft neutral colours with different combinations of more neutrals with yellow and Tuscan gold, as well as in stronger colours such as blues, burgundies, brown and olive green. These blankets are large, ranging in size from about 170 cm to over 2 metres long, and all are about 136 cm (53.5") wide. They drape well and become a favourite both indoors and also outside in warmer seasons.

Here are some samples:

C141 | Beige, yellow, Tuscan gold, natural | $160

C144 | Similar to C141 but with narrow natural stripes throughout | $160

C145 | Olive green, brown, medium blue herringbone with narrow black stripes | $160

C147 | Burgundies, medium blue, olive green, brown | Extra long (206 cm) | $175

C148 | Blues in diamonds and herringbone | Extra long (207 cm) | $175

Please contact me if you're interested in more information or photos of any of these big cotton blankets.